Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Advertising Association and WARC reaction: The Ozone Project, Permutive, Sourcepoint, OpenX, Xandr & Starcom

Following incredibly positive news from the latest Expenditure Report from the Advertising Association and WARC, NDA has been asking the. industry for its reaction. Below we hear from The Ozone Project, Permutive, OpenX, Xandr and Starcom.

Craig Tuck, Chief Revenue Officer, The Ozone Project:

“Much like the UK’s confidence-boosting coronavirus vaccine roll out, these encouraging quarterly results – and a more promisingly upwardly revised forecast for the remainder of 2021 – represent a much needed shot in the arm for the market. There are high expectations for a return to ‘business as (close to) usual’ for many advertisers, as they look to regain share or drive awareness back to pre-pandemic levels.  

Despite this renewed vigour, some caution remains across the market, with digital investment having to work harder than ever to justify its place on a plan, representing a great opportunity for quality media environments, proven to deliver. At Ozone, we continue to see significant growth in digital investment in our platform, a trend also reflected by many of our individual publishers, such as Reach which recently announced digital revenues are up 43% for the first half of 2021. 

This fantastic growth further underlines the value advertisers place in reaching high attention audiences who, according to Ofcom’s latest News consumption in the UK report, continue to have high levels of trust in the content they read across our publishers, all within brand safe, premium environments like those delivered at scale by the Ozone platform.” 

Elizabeth Brennan, Head of Advertiser Strategy at Permutive:

“We’re thrilled to see the results of the latest AA/WARC report, which reveal not only an optimistic outlook for ad spend over the coming year, but a positive message that we can hope to see the negative effects of last year reversed by the recovery.

“With more confidence in the market again, it is easy to forget the constant changes taking place within the media ecosystem. There have been strong signals from across the industry that consumer privacy must be at the forefront of advertiser’s minds. Publishers now hold the keys to the future of digital advertising as their valuable first-party data will be the only way in which advertisers will be able to communicate with audiences in a privacy-compliant way.

“At its core, advertising is about the relationship between brands, media owners and consumers. Brands will need to build direct relationships with publishers if we are to see advertising bounce back and be brilliant, well placed, unintrusive and provocative. By working closely with publishers, advertisers can ensure their ad spend is used to reach new audiences and achieve marketing goals without user privacy being compromised, protecting themselves from the chaos that surrounds our industry.”

Emma Lacey, Senior Director, Buyer Development at OpenX:

“The AA/WARC advertising expenditure report paints an incredibly positive picture for the future of advertising following some truly challenging times in our industry. With ad spend expected to grow in the UK by 18.2% this year, we are clearly on the path to recovery from the negative impact we saw from COVID and lockdown on almost all forms of media. 

Alongside this growth in ad spend, marketers should also be set to benefit from pent-up consumer demand, and through refined media strategies, be in line to deliver a stronger ROI than ever  before from their advertising as a result. With digital media in particular, brands and agencies have a unique opportunity to innovate and capitalise on some of the changes that have happened in consumer behaviour over the past 12-18 months; whilst demonstrating to consumers that they understand how and when they should target them in this new post-covid era.”

Austin Scott, Head of Video Market development, EMEA, Xandr

“AA/WARC’s latest report is very encouraging for the UK ad industry. In particular, it’s promising to see that online formats – most notably search, online display and BVOD – grew by double-digits during the quarter. Indeed our own earnings reflect this industry-wide acceleration as our video spend has doubled year-over-year, and CTV growth exceeded 200%, in H1. 

Ultimately, the pandemic has led to an acceleration of digital streaming in the advertising industry. The rate of growth might diminish slightly as the nation opens up again but higher rates of adoption will continue. For example, those that previously watched linear broadcast TV and by now may have ‘finished Netflix’ will be expecting the ease of access and choice that on demand on any device offers. Indeed, those advertisers who have done the work of testing CTV and are seeing the benefits of more targeted and data filled TV advertising are the ones driving strong growth in CTV. 

Moving forward as the ecosystem evolves, partnerships strengthen and advertisers educate themselves on the data-driven television opportunities that are now available; there will be more availability to make the shift from purely scheduled linear to a real-time digital mix. Advertisers will then be able to start benefiting from precision targeting and enhanced measurement.”

Ricardo Amboage, Head of Programmatic and Display Investment at Starcom:

“The latest figures reflect the prevalent positive mood felt throughout most parts of the media-industry. It is true that the pandemic continues to fuel uncertainty among some marketing teams : ongoing restrictions to the travel industry, disruption to supply chains, and staff shortages due to self-isolation. As Chris Whitty says “we’re not out of the woods yet”. However, it is clear that significant pent-up advertiser demand is being released thanks to the success of the vaccine and loosening of lockdown.

Some brands and media businesses have not only weathered the crisis, but capitalised by using the pandemic as a catalyst for positive change. Marketers have increased investment in D2C strategies and begun to scrutinise and optimise retail budgets. Media suppliers have pivoted to programmatic solutions in order to offer advertisers agility in the face of uncertainty. In response to declining circulations, Publishers have strengthened their relationships with core readership by growing subscribers and their online logged-in user base. The acceleration of these trends are reflected in the strong positive growth seen by digital media channels.”

Nial Ferguson, Managing Director UK & Ireland, Sourcepoint

“With projections showing 18.2% growth, the industry is on track to reach record levels of prosperity in 2021. While the Covid-induced recession presented unique and timely challenges for the industry last year, changes in privacy regulations and browser identifiers will persist and evolve as we enter H2. 

“To avoid any unwelcome privacy vulnerabilities, the return of budgets presents a prime opportunity for publishers to invest in compliant technologies that support them to remain up-to-date with regulation changes. Simultaneously, publishers should work to communicate their value exchange to consumers, and in turn, harness their privacy compliant data to support relevant content. The privacy-first future is already here, and it’s vital that businesses support the free and open internet, while placing data ethics front and centre of their strategies. 

*Permutive, Sourcepoint and Xandr are clients of Bluestripe Communications, owned by Bluestripe Group, the owner of NDA.